Aaron Rodgers will start as quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in Chicago.
It doesn't matter who the quarterback, or outside linebacker, or running back, or kicker is, if players lose their composure again, the way Sunday's game in the snow ended. "It was a classic case of the Packers beating themselves with head-scratching penalties, critical turnovers and mind-numbing game-management mistakes." The line at the confessional in advance of Midnight Mass was long.
The critical penalties came during the final 2 minutes, beginning with outside linebacker Nick Perry being called for offside on what was going to be a Shawn Suisham field goal attempt on fourth-and-3 from the Packers’ 10.Winning "The Hard Way" is more fun than losing, but making it harder on yourself involves unnecessary exertion, and messes up the mental state of the fans.
The penalty gave the Steelers a first down. With the game tied at 31, they could’ve run the clock out with the Packers down to one timeout but scored two plays later to give Green Bay a minute to respond.
After Micah Hyde returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards, the Packers got as far as the Pittsburgh 1 before T. J. Lang had a false start, which was incorrectly called on right tackle Don Barclay.
It caused a 10-second runoff and left the Packers with 10 seconds to work with. In a rush, quarterback Matt Flynn fired a pass high to receiver Jarrett Boykin as time expired.
“Penalties, that was not usually like us,” said defensive lineman B.J. Raji, who picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter. “My penalty didn’t help, but we had some crucial penalties. It’s just how the game goes sometimes. You can’t blame anybody, the officials or anybody — you just have to look at yourself.
Josh Sitton drew a second-quarter penalty for a face mask, but most of the damage was done in the second half, beginning with tight end Jake Stoneburner being called for roughing the passer. It came on a fourth-and-2 fake punt pass from Steelers punter Mat McBriar, which he completed to tight end David Paulson for 30 yards off a flood route.